Lioli, Matlama face-off
. . . as Independence Top4 Final beckons
MASERU will come to a standstill, with all roads leading to Setsoto Stadium where premier league giants Lioli and Matlama face-off in the Independence Top4 Final this afternoon.
The winners of the tournament will walk away M150 000 richer while the runners-up will pocket M60 000. The third and fourth-placed teams will receive M40 000 and M30 000 respectively.
Lioli were the first to book their spot in the final yesterday beating Sandawana 4-1 thanks to Tšepo Lekhooana’s hat-trick. Second half substitute Setho Moshoeshoe completed the rout while Norman Kumatse scored the consolation goal for the Butha-Buthe outfit.
In the second semifinal, Jane Thabantso’s header in the dying minutes of the match was enough to keep Matlama’s hopes of ending their five-year trophy drought alive as they secured a hard fought 1-0 win over LCS.
In the aftermath of his team’s slender victory, Matlama coach Moses Maliehe said his focus was now on ensuring that his charges got enough rest ahead of today’s final.
“It is not going to be an easy one and it has never been when the two sides meet so that is not what I have to be worried about at the moment. I just need to make sure that my players get enough rest before tomorrow’s (today) match,” Maliehe said yesterday.
Maliehe said he would be banking on his young and energetic squad to get the job done against Lioli.
“I think the match will be very tactical and what I know is they are not much of ball players. Therefore I will employ our youthful and energetic players just to derail them and hope that will work for us,” Maliehe said.
For his part, Lioli mentor Halemakale Mahlaha said the match was motivation enough on its own and his charges know what was expected of them.
“It is going to be a tough match no doubt but then again such matches are a motivation in themselves. The players just need to keep their heads and do their work,” Mahlaha said.
The former Matlama player said winning this cup is very vital to him as it would win back the supporters as well as boost the players’ confidence.
“We did not start the league well and some of our supporters were even calling for my head so it is important to me that we win this cup as that will restore their confidence.
It will also be a morale booster for the players as it will make them realise they still have what it takes to compete for any trophy in our domestic league,” Mahlaha said.
Meanwhile, LCS will take on struggling Sandawana in third place play-off.